It’s been a long, crazy summer by the beach. Nearly a year after Superstorm Sandy devastated the area, Coney Island went through a wild summer season. Like any neighborhood with a theme park at its heart, there were thrills, chills and nearly collapsing Astrotowers.
As the summer wind gives way to autumn chills, I’m reminded of some of the bigger Coney Island stories of the summer. As the boardwalk reopened, a stronger corporate presence began to entrench itself, inviting the forced jingoistic promises of fun from the likes of Applebees. With many tri-state beaches closed following Sandy’s wrath, the beaches at Coney Island were more popular than ever, enraging locals looking for parking, fighting through crowds and dealing with increased trash. As the boardwalk boomed with new businesses and a fancy new parachute jump light display, the local community was still reeling from damaged schools and medical facilities, closed libraries and sinkholes. The longstanding Astrotower was taken down after people grew worried that the whistling space needle was about to be knocked over by the wind.
Tragedy was also a common theme on Coney Island. There was murder at the Marlboro Houses (2740 86th Street) and the horrifying story of a little girl who fell out of a window at the Gravesend Housing project (3194 Bay View Avenue) after suffering signs of abuse, and a 5-year-old who suffered severe injuries on a Coney Island ride. The area also dealt with ugly racism when the Jackie Robinson statue standing outside MCU Park (1904 Surf Avenue) was defaced with hate speech. The community rallied together, cleaning and rededicating the statue on “Diversity Day,” remembering all the good that Robinson stood for. On the lighter side, Beyonce took a whirl on the Cylcone, inadvertently causing a woman to sob in terror after being stranded in the sky on the Wonder Wheel while Beyonce’s team prepped her makeup.
Those are just a few of the stories that capped off a transformative and turbulent year for the area. The video above, produced by Tibitubu, captures the waning summer spirit of Coney Island in a short and beautifully filmed package that features a subway ride to the beach, crashing waves, music and seagulls.